An Alternative to Homework

The situation: I want my students to read a section of their social studies textbook for homework.
Instead of: making students answer questions that prove that they have read the information
Try this: Ask students to list 2 important details they learned from the reading assignment AND post 2 questions they still have after reading the assignment.
For example, I had my 4th grade students read Sections 3 – 8 in their social studies textbook for homework and wanted to have some sort of assessment to prove that they read the material. Instead of giving them a worksheet to complete either while they were reading or the next day in class, I posted the following on our class portal discussion board (you could use a blog if you do not have a portal) and had the students respond:
After reading Chapter 13 (Sections 3 – 8) on TCI, write 2 sentences describing what you learned from this reading AND 2 questions to ask another student.
Example (You may not use my example.)
1. After reading chapter 13, I learned that mercenaries are soldiers hired to fight for a foreign army.
2. I was surprised to learn that colonists refused to give the British soldiers food and supplies.
Questions:
1. Did loyalists fight for the British during the revolution?
2. After the war, were loyalists treated fairly?

Follow up assignment the next day in class: Review what the students posted and have them respond to at least one other person’s posts.

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